What Gord Downie Just Taught Us About Dying - and Living

No dress rehearsal, this is our life.

What Gord Downie Just Taught Us About Dying - and Living

What Gord Downie is Teaching Us About Living |

Editor's note: Gord Downie, sadly, passed away on Tuesday, October 18, 2017. We are re-running a piece one of our authors wrote during his last concert about what he taught us about life. Rest in peace, Gord. 

None of us is getting out of here alive; there's nothing more certain about life than our eventual death.

Some of us will have our lives ripped from our hands in an instant with nary a second to ponder our existence, while others, like Gord Downie, will be handed their death sentence and time. Months, days, and then seconds to grapple with the greatest question of all; did I live a life worth living?

For those of us who have followed The Tragically Hip from the beginning, this summer has been particularly poignant; our own mortality has been playing out on stage. It has been impossible to not draw comparisons to our own lives, with questions about how we will face our inevitable deaths. Thankfully the man (and the band) who provided us with a kick-ass soundtrack for our lives over the last three decades has also now gifted us with a roadmap for dying.

Gord Downie could have been quiet, slipping away quietly without sharing his final days with us — and there would have been no judgement if he had. But Instead he handed us a gift. He pushed the demons that must have been wreaking havoc with him aside and gave us his all, right down to the very last song.

While the vast majority of us won’t have the rapt attention of a nation in our final days, we will have the focus of those who love us and as Gord showed us, our final performance is the time to leave nothing left unsaid — to be vulnerable and raw. Why wait until we are looking death square in the eyes though? Say it now.

Faced with death, Gord Downie had two choices; retreat with his loved ones or bring us all in for one final group hug. There was nothing that said he had to include us on this journey, but he respectfully and with love shared his music and poetry one last time and allowed us to say goodbye so that we might feel better.

The Tragically Hip could have used the proceeds to make sure that just their families were taken care of, because without Gord Downie, there is no Hip. Instead, they announced that some of the proceeds from ticket sales would be donated to the Sunnybrook Foundation to support cancer research, ensuring that they weren’t just taking care of themselves but of people who have some more living to do.  

Finally, with an entire nation hanging on every word during his final concert, Gord demanded better for our First Nations and gave us all a call to action. Do better. There was no vanity or posturing, just a man putting the living ahead of the dying. We should all remember that in our final days, it isn’t about us at all, but about those we leave behind.

Last night I listened with a nation to The Hip’s final concert on the CBC. Canada’s most iconic band played on our national radio with not one commercial break and a few well placed fucks for three hours. It was the most Canadian thing that ever Canadianed. I could not bring myself to watch with my eyes, but instead chose to close them and  listen, under the stars with a campfire. Every song suddenly had new context and meaning.

“It’s been a pleasure doing business with you.”

“No dress rehearsal, this is our life.”

“You’re going to miss me, wait and you’ll see.”

“Let’s just see what the morning brings.”

It was not a lyric that finally pushed me over the edge however, rather it was when Gord said simply, “Have a nice life.” Four simple words, so often said dripping with disdain in our modern society that it caught me off guard. There was no bitterness, anger, or resentment in those words; it was said with gut-wrenching sincerity to each and every one of us. In that moment, I was beyond grateful for the music, the band, and the man that has been part of life’s playlist since I was sixteen.

Years from now the question won’t be, “Where were you when Gord Downie died?” but rather “Where were you when he played his last concert?” Looking death squarely in the eye, Gord changed the narrative from not how he will die but how he lived. A powerful reminder to us all.

I don't propose to know what goes on inside the head of someone facing imminent death. All I know is that a man should be judged by his actions in the face of it. Gord Downie just showed us all how to die with courage, and grace too. 


Image Source: CBC/Youtube 


3 Nutty Recipes Safe for People Who Have Peanut Allergies

The Nuts are Back in Da House!

3 Nutty Recipes Safe for People Who Have Peanut Allergies

3 Nutty Recipes Good for People with Peanut Allergies| YMCFood |

No matter what you’ve heard about nuts in the past, I’m here to tell you that size DEFINITELY matters. So does the feel of them. They should be dry and never oily, because ewwww, who wants to touch oily nuts? And if the nuts you grab aren’t fresh, then you haven’t been living my friend.

What? No, what did you think I was talking about? Sheesh, get your head out of the gutter, friends. This is a respectable website.

I’m talking about Royal Nuts, and while I'm obviously having some light-hearted fun above, I can tell you I'm not joking about what a game-changer these nuts have been for my family.

For years, our house has been a nut-free zone.  My 23-year-old stepson has a severe peanut allergy, so we have always avoided all nuts due to cross contamination. It didn’t matter that he's actually not allergic to nuts like walnuts, cashews, and almonds, the problem was that the risk they were processed in the same facility as peanuts was simply too high.

Since re-introducing nuts back into our home a few months ago, things have gotten a little nutty around here because I LOVE nuts. They’re a healthy and delicious snack and since I know they’re peanut free, I feel safe about having them in the house.

Here are three things you need to know about Royal Nuts:

1. They're gluten free

Yes, nuts are already naturally gluten-free but some nuts may come into contact with gluten in the processing stage, just like peanuts. Not so with Royal Nuts. They guarantee that none of their dry-roasting or processing machinery is contaminated with gluten. The same applies for peanuts.

2. King-size matters

This is why Royal Nuts always have the largest-sized nuts they can find, that are also roasted daily and delivered to the store at the peak of their freshness.

3. You don't even have to leave your home to buy them!

Store, schmore. Who wants to go to the store? Between Amazon Prime, grocery delivery and now the LCBO, my transition to full hermit mode is almost complete. Needless to say, I’m thrilled to know that I can now order Royal Nuts online for delivery to my front door.

So now that you’re all brushed up on your Royal Nuts facts, here are three recipes you must try your king-sized nuts in. Enjoy!

Maple Glazed Sea Salted Nuts

Maple Glazed Sea Salted Nuts | YMCFood |


1 325g container Royal Nuts Deluxe Nuts Sea Salted
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp dark brown sugar
2 tbsp maple syrup


  Preheat your oven to 350F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

  While oven is heating, melt butter in a skillet. Once melted, add brown sugar and maple syrup. Heat over medium-high heat until bubbling. Once bubbling, turn off heat but leave skillet on burner. Immediately add deluxe nuts and stir until coated.

  Spread nuts on the parchment-lined cookie sheet and transfer to oven. Bake for 8 minutes and then remove and cool before eating.

  Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks (but there’s no way they’ll last that long!)


Banana Walnut Bread or Muffins

Banana Walnut Bread | YMCFood |


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 ripe bananas
1/2 cup butter (must be room temperature)
2 eggs
1 cup Royal Nuts Raw Walnuts, chopped


  Pre-heat oven to 350. Grease a regular sized bread pan (bottom only) or spray a regular or mini muffin tin and set aside.

  Combine and mix all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.

  Place batter in a greased bread pan or muffin tins. Bake the loaf for 40 to 50 minutes. Mini muffins will take 12 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Larger muffins will take approximately 25 minutes.

  Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes. Complete cooling on a wire rack.

Notes: The key to this recipe is that the butter must be soft and at room temperature. Trying to use cold butter will not yield the best results.


Caramel Popcorn with Cashews, Pecans & Pretzels 

Caramel Popcorn with Cashews, Pecans and Pretzels | YMCFood |

12 cups popped popcorn 
1 1/2 cups Royal Nuts Sea Salted Cashews
1 1/2 cups Royal Nuts Dry Roasted Pecans
3/4 cup broken pretzel pieces
3/4 cup of butter 
1 cup dark brown sugar 
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 tsp baking soda 

  Heat oven to 225F.

  Place popcorn, cashews, and pretzels in a large roasting pan (turkey roaster).

  On the stovetop, melt butter in medium saucepan over low heat, and then add brown sugar and corn syrup. Stir to combine. Raise temperature to medium-high and cook until boiling, allow mixture to boil for two minutes. Immediately remove from heat and stir in baking soda.

  While caramel is warm pour over mixture in roasting pan and stir well to combine. I suggest making this a two-person job: one person pours, while the other combines it all in the pan.

  Place roasting pan in oven and bake for one hour, stirring mixture every 15 minutes.

  Remove from oven and spread on cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Cool completely. Once cooled, break into pieces and EAT IT!!